More Linuxy Goodness

So, I was having some bluetooth issues and some ATI issues with my Ubuntu Gutsy install on the laptop (Dell Inspiron 6400), and after proving that I am not quite “ready for prime time” on troubleshooting obscure issues in Linux, I went ahead and acquiesced to the “rebuild” mentality that served me so well in the Windows world. But, unsatisfied with the install process on Gutsy (the ATI video in my laptop is not really super duper supported by the drivers on the install CD, so you have to do an alternate install and then run scripts and shit to get stuff working). Never one to shirk from beta software, I decided to install Ubuntu Hardy Heron alpha 6 (8.04).

The install? Flawless. Not a thing I would change. I got one error on startup, because an existing “session” entry called for an app I hadn’t installed yet. No problem, fixed easily. The kicker? xrandr automatically grabbed my correct screen resolution. Even without the restricted ATI drivers installed. Mind blowing. Bluetooth picked up automatically. The multiformat card reader on the side? PIcked up automatically. Just wonderful

What didn’t work? Well, the wireless. I had to manually remove and re-install the “b43-fwcutter” package, because though it was installed, it had no firmware to… cut, I guess. The manual install from the command line pulled down the firmware and it immediately sprang to action, enabling my wireless. And shutdown causes a squawk of network manager errors that vomit forth just before the final shutdown., but nothing show stopping.

And now that I’m actually using it in my day to day, I can say I’m exceptionally interested in the final product. They’ve done a great job of incremental progress towards a really clean user experience. The fonts all look great, the screen really pops, and the icons have been nicely smoothed and worked over.

Plus, it includes Firefox 3 Beta 3 out of the box, the only problem I have with it is that it ties into Network Manager somehow, and if you’re using a non-network manager connection (I use wvdial to get internet by cellphone on my laptop, I use a bridged connection on my desktop not managed by Network Manager), there is an additional step every time I launch a new Firefox session, to turn off “work offline”. I have not seen this with Firefox 3 Beta 4, but I haven’t had much time to play with it yet.

I installed fusion-icon (now in the repos!!!) and now I have a beautiful, accelerated 3D desktop without having to resort to crazy aiglx/fuck around in the xorg.conf/new sessions bullshit. Life is pretty good. As long as the network manager stuff gets sorted out, and I can disable the work offline stuff in Firefox, I’d be happy even if they don’t get more of the goals finished before launch.

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